Tuesday brings to a close the summer round of special elections that began back in June after six House seats became open. Voters will go to the polls to choose new representation in House District 80, which includes portions of DeKalb and Fulton counties, House District 146, which includes much of Houston county, and House District 155, which includes portions of the South Georgia counties of Ben Hill, Coffee, Irwin, Tift, and Turner.
The most watched race is the seat formerly held by Mike Jacobs in Brookhaven. In the July 14th first round, Democrat Taylor Bennett got the most votes, with 36.8% Former Brookhaven mayor J. Max Davis edged past Catherine Bernard for the runoff slot, 31.5% to 30.1%. Loren Collins came in fourth, far behind the frontrunners.
The race is significant for two reasons: should Bennett win, control of the Fulton County delegation would flip to the Democrats, allowing them to undo some of the measures passed in the General Assembly designed to limit the size of Fulton County government. In addition, a win by the Democrat would leave the GOP one short of its current supermajority in the House, making it impossible to pass a constitutional amendment without Democratic support.
These two issues drew plenty of attention to the race, with Governor Nathan Deal and 6th District Congressman Tom Price endorsing and campaigning for Davis, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and other Democrats hosting a fundraiser for Bennett. Third place finisher Bernard declined to endorse either candidate in the runoff.
In the race to replace Larry O’Neal in Houston County, Shaw Blackmon got almost 44% in July, not quite enough to defeat second place Larry Walker, who had 35%. Both are Republicans. Walker is the son and namesake of Larry Walker II, who held the seat formerly occupied by Sam Nunn for 32 years, retiring in 2004. Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph had the story back on election night. It’s important to note that Blackmon was appointed to the board of the Technical College System of Georgia by former governor Sonny Perdue, and has enjoyed the support of Perdue in the election. Some of Blackmon’s campaign team also worked on Senator David Perdue’s election bid.
The House District 155 race, which will replace Jay Roberts, is also between two Republicans. Farmer Clay Pirkle received 36.5% of the first round vote, while former Ocilla mayor Horace Hudgins got 31.7%. WALB news posted a story on the background and goals of the two candidates.
Polls will be open on Tuesday between 7 AM and 7 PM. You need not have voted in July’s first round in order to vote in the runoff. You can verify if you are in one of the districts holding runoffs, and find your polling place by going here.
:: Update :: Once the polls close, results will be available here.